Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2 Review: Tell-Tale Hearts

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The lies told and revealed during Big Little Lies Season 1 begin to catch up with people on Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2.

While the overarching season lie gets more difficult to hold onto the longer Mary Louise is within the orbit of any of the Monterey Five, it's the less significant fibs that are threatening to tear everyone apart.

Affairs, parentage, rape, fraud, and who knows what else are all simmering just below the surface and each eruption poses a bigger threat to the secret the women are sharing about the night at the gala.

Jane and Celeste Share a Moment - Big Little Lies

There were two prevailing themes throughout "Tell-Tale Hearts."

Everyone was feeling the burn of family and in need of a refresher course on the subject. Families struggle, and it's making it through those struggles is what families do.

Eavesdropping and the consequences of keeping lies that get discovered when you least expect it was another topic. At the heart of this subject were Madeline and her daughter, Chloe. 

Jane Takes Celeste's Hand - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2

Chloe repeats everything that she hears, but despite that, Madeline has never curtailed how she speaks in front of her daughter. 

Her belief that Chloe understands you don't repeat what you hear your parents say has gotten everyone into a world of hurt. Or maybe it's just that Madeline should know better than to discuss such sensitive topics around her daughter. There is a lot Madeline doesn't seem to understand.

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The most jarring situation to arise out of Madeline's inability to keep her lips shut around Chloe is that the entire class knows that Perry was Ziggy's father, but none of the adults had yet been let in on the secret.

Kudos to all of the kids for being more secretive than their parents. Poor Ziggy knew for months about his father and how he came about.

Jane: Did Chloe tell you anything else?
Ziggy: She said something about Mr. Wright giving you salt. That's how I happened. He salted you.

It's good that the kids are talking amongst themselves because it's forcing their parents to stop lying to them.

Celeste Takes Jane's Hand - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2

Once Jane knew Ziggy had been suffering from the knowledge of his parentage alone, she broke ranks and told him everything (except about how his father died). She wants to lie to him as little as she can. 

Celeste was more reluctant to share with her boys the truth about their father, but that's not surprising. Celeste has no idea what she wants or how to behave in the wake of Perry's death. She needs more counseling than she's getting, and it's starting to wear on her.

Not only was Celeste ill-equipped to deal with the kids' discovery about Perry, but she had a difficult time defending her decisions to Mary Louise when the latter learned of Ziggy.

Mary Louise: So was supposed to have happened what, nine years ago? When you two were trying to have a baby? Please. When did you find out about this alleged affair?
Celeste: It wasn't an affair. It was a rape. Rape.
Mary Louise: When did you find out?
Celeste: The night he died.
Mary Louise: Then how can you? This woman, she might have had multiple partners, you know. She could have been drugged. You don't know her. She could've been ... what if she got it wrong?
Celeste: She didn't.
Mary Louise: Aren't you desperate for her to be wrong? Aren't you desperate to know that he wasn't unfaithful? To believe that he wasn't capable of doing the things that she said? He wasn't! I'll never believe that.
Celeste: Your son wasn't an innocent man. He beat me up. Many times.
Mary Louise: I don't believe youuuu. Why wouldn't you have gone to the police?

Celeste cannot reconcile her emotions about Perry. On the one hand, she defends him and her life with him (that she later calls a sickness) vigorously. She's stuck between calling him a rapist and wanting to take responsibility for the abuse she received at his hands.

It all depends on the person on the receiving end whether she can admit Perry's grievous faults or she wants to get wrapped up in them again as if they were her safety blanket.

Celeste and the Twins - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2

Celeste and Jane are both going to have to deal with Mary Louise going forward now that they've formed a new family together with their boys as brothers. 

It won't be long before Mary Louise decides to insert herself into Jane's orbit to get to know another grandchild. She's desperately trying to find all of the good in the situations concerning Perry, and it will be interesting to learn how she treats Jane once she gets to know her.

Celeste: Madeline told me that you and she had words.
Mary Louise: I don't like her.
Celeste: Well, you have to try.
Mary Louise: Well, I have tried, but she's not a likable person.
Celeste: She's been a lifeline to me. She really is a wonderful person.
Mary Louise: Well, mmmn, you're mistaken.
Celeste: Have I ever told you she once saved Max from drowning?
Mary Louise: Really?
Celeste: Mmm hmm.
Mary Louise: Huh. Where were you?

Mary Louise's blatant disregard for all things Madeline has made me see Madeline in a new light, especially after Ed caught wind of the totality of what his wife has been keeping from him.

Meryl Streep Joined Big Little Lies Without Reading the Scripts

Mary Louise does not like Madeline. Should we like Madeline? Truly, it's not easy to like Madeline, Celeste or Renata. But it's Madeline who is getting painted with the broadest strokes.

Bonnie's suffering seems to be lost on Madeline, especially as it pertains to the rest of the group.

Bonnie: No, I'm not OK. I'm having a hard time with the whole thing. Sometimes I wake up at night in a sweat with this feeling. It's gonna get us. It's gonna get us all.
Madeline: Who are you talking about?
Bonnie: The lie.

Madeline is wearing blinders. Nathan already reached out to Madeline about his second wife, and Madeline finds Bonnie stumbling along the side of the highway, but when Bonnie reveals to her how she feels about that night at the gala, it's as if it's the first time she's ever heard of it.

Her ability to self-manipulate so that she can forge forward in the world is astounding. Of everyone, she's the most oblivious right after Renata.

Mary Louise Watches Celeste - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2

What Mary Louise sees, that Madeline isn't very likable is starting to take shape.

After Ed learned of the many things he's been keeping from him including knowledge of Perry fathering Ziggy, her affair with the director, and that Abigail knew about that affair for a year, she still didn't know how to address him.

Telling him that her issues were not about him but her and them as a couple was not the way to go. Ed has always been supportive of Madeline, and she crushed him with her lies. 

You asked me what I think, so I'll tell you. I think we're DONE.


It struck her like a brick to the head that he might think it all signaled the end of their marriage. 

Madeline talks about family and how they stick together through everything, but she has been shutting out her family for her self-interests.

By contrast, Renata has a husband charged of three types of fraud in his quest to provide for himself and his wife as they are "wanters." Just as Renata is gaining more prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, Gordon's actions threaten everything.

Amabella's Head - Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2

Although Renata noticed Detective Quinlan at the spot when Gordon got arrested, it's not fully hitting the group as a whole that what they did could bring their families under tighter scrutiny. 

Renata grew up poor, and the idea of going there again takes her to the limit. Making your life miserable is a great tactic to get you to break. Quinlan seems to be utilizing that.

The five are doing gangbusters in sabotaging their own lives without her help. If she's orchestrating their fall, they'll go down like dominoes, especially if they're left alone without their support systems in place.

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Will their troubles force the five to begin leaning on each other in ways they've not quite as of yet, or will the stress stretch their bonds to the breaking point?

At least for now, it seems Celeste and Jane are finding a way to work together. They'll do anything for their kids. Will Mary Louise doing anything for her Perry impact that tenuous new bond they share?

Hopefully, someone will reach out to Bonnie and try to help her deal with everything. Her mother asked a concerning question: What did you do...this time? That indicates Bonnie has been in trouble before. Maybe running is her way of centering herself to stay on the straight and narrow.

At least she has that. Celeste has therapy, and Jane has Ziggy and her new family with Celeste and the boys. At the moment, it's unclear what Madeline and Renata have to center them, so their next steps will be crucial to the safety of the others.

While Mary Louise begins picking away at the house of cards they've built, it seems any one lie can be the one that breaks them all and sets them up for a fall.

What do you think will happen with Mary Louise and Jane and Ziggy? Will Mary Louise go to the police? 

When will Madeline begin to take some responsibility for her actions?

How much longer can Bonnie handle the weight of responsibility for Perry's death on her own?

Share what you're thinking about it all in the comments below. And watch Big Little Lies online if you need to get more involved in the story.

Tell Tale Hearts Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (34 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

On your awesome days, I suspect you are a godsend. But on your bad days, decidedly less so.

Mary Louise

Madeline: It was an emergency.
Mary Louise: What kind of an emergency?
Madeline: The kind short people have.